Friday, January 12, 2018

He (our Dino) is the heart and soul of the film and he carries it well.


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Hey pallies, likes if we had to wager a guess of which of our Dino's flicks we have shared reviews of most often---other then the quartet of the Matt Helm capers, we woulda  put our money on "Rio Bravo," what is considered by many many Dino-holics to be our Dino's bestest of best perfectly powerful performance on the silver screen.  We gotta 'fess up that these days we often pass by some of the reviews of "Rio Bravo" we find on the web 'cause they seem substandard and often don't have mucho much to share on our Dino's perfecto performance as the "Dude."

But likes not only  yester-Dino-day but today once 'gain we are potently pleased to share yet 'other recent review that our pallies at Twingly Advanced Blog Search sent our way from the  blog pad tagged "Invasion Of The Podcast!"  Likes from the listin' of the blog archive, we note that this is a blog created in 2017 and this particular post in only numero ten in their blog history.  This remarkable review, swankly scribed by one of the trio of cool contributors, Mr. Paul 'Tiberius' Steadman, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, United States is tagged "
Year Of The Western! #4 Rio Bravo (1959)."

Likes, of course, we gotta 'fess up that a huge huge reason why we digs Mr. Steadman's thoughts so so much is 'cause it is clear that Paul "gets Martin" and likes digs our King of Cool to the mostest.
We energetically encourage you to read everythin' that Paul has wisely written, but we lovin'ly lift up these Dino-centric remarks....

"Dean Martin as Dude was surprise to me. I wasn't quite sure what to expect out him. I know he acted in some films, but I didn't expect the quiet sombreness he brought and how he struggled to walk the sober line because he knew chance didn't really have anyone else. He is the heart and soul of the film and he carries it well."

"My favorite scene in the film is when he and Chance chase one of Burdette's men into a bar after they were ambushed in the night. You can see the confidence Dean has at the start but how it slips away in an instant when the men start calling him out for being a drunk. His redemption at the end of the scene is earned and is pretty bad ass."

"Does it have a theme song with the name of the film in the title? Yes, and it was done by Dean Martin. Man can croon the paint off a barn."

"John Wayne was fun to watch but Dean Martin steals the show."

'nough said pallies!   We swankly salute Mr. Paul 'Tiberius' Steadman for his touchin' 'n tender thoughts on "Rio Bravo" and his perfectly powerful praise of our most most beloved Dino......btw, which we are awesomely in agreement with!  To checks this out in it's original source, likes simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-message.

We remain,

Yours in Dino,

Dino Martin Peters

Year Of The Western! #4 Rio Bravo (1959)



So as soon as I came off the unexpected high of 3:10 to Yuma, I saw that the next film on the list was another two hour plus John Wayne film (if I recall the next three are John Wayne films). I had a feeling that it was going to be another series of vignettes that didn't necessarily belong together much like how I felt much of The Searchers was.

Rio Bravo does have a lot of wandering story threads and functions very similarly in scope like The Searchers but I have come away from it with a different feeling.

Also, little did I know parts of this film would influence a lot of things I love.
Film Number #4 Rio Bravo (1959)



Here is the imdb.com cast listing.. Here is the wikipedia page about the production.

First, let me provide this bit of trivia about 3:10 to Yuma. Supposedly (and this is from the internet, and I can't pin down the source), this film and High Noon made Howard Hawks want to make Rio Bravo. The suggestion of hope is something that he saw in them and wanted to make a more optimistic western. So points to me for catching something like 60 after it came out.

The plot of Rio Bravo is simple. The story is not. Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) has arrested Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) for shooting an unarmed man in a bar fight that broke out because Joe was degrading the local town drunk, and former deputy under Chance, Dude (Dean Martin). Burdette has a wealthy brother, Nathan (John Russell), who can pay as many men as he wants to try and get his brother out of jail, but can't risk doing it plain sight as it would tarnish his trusted businessman persona. It becomes a waiting game for Chance as he can't call for help because it won't come fast enough and he doesn't want to endanger the townsfolk. So he tries to keep everything moving along as business as usual until the Marshall can come and take Joe away.

There is a young man named Colorado (Ricky Nelson) who is really good with his guns but wants to not pick a side in the coming quiet siege of Rio Bravo. But his want of revenge may draw him into the conflict.

To complicate things, there is young lady, no actual name, listed as Feathers in cast (Angie Dickinson) who is stuck in town due to the stagecoach stopping service due to the Burdette situation. She may or may not be a traveling poker thief and she knows she frustrates Sheriff Chance in the best way possible.

Also, Chance has a older crippled guy named Stumpy (Walter Brennan) watch over Joe and the upkeep of the jail while he is out dealing with whatever Burdette's men are up to. God. Damn. Stumpy.

So what this ends up becoming is a story about a Sheriff trying his best to keep himself and his town together, a former deputy trying to find himself again outside the walls of a bottle, a young hired finding a purpose, and a young lady finding what she thought she lost. Oh, and Stumpy makes all kinds of Stumpy talk.

I appreciated the different version of John Wayne I saw here. He is more vulnerable than broken here versus his role in The Searchers. He wants to see Dude get back on his feet but only knows tough love. He knows he is outgunned by Burdette's men and is always trying to stay one step ahead of whatever they are planning next, succeeding sometimes, failing others. His John T. Chance is a very human character. And he actually smiles once in a while too.

Dean Martin as Dude was surprise to me. I wasn't quite sure what to expect out him. I know he acted in some films, but I didn't expect the quiet sombreness he brought and how he struggled to walk the sober line because he knew chance didn't really have anyone else. He is the heart and soul of the film and he carries it well.

My favorite scene in the film is when he and Chance chase one of Burdette's men into a bar after they were ambushed in the night. You can see the confidence Dean has at the start but how it slips away in an instant when the men start calling him out for being a drunk. His redemption at the end of the scene is earned and is pretty bad ass.



Colorado has a smaller story as his stance of not getting involved soon goes away when his boss is shot by Burdette's men because he offered to help Chance. Credit to Ricky Nelson, who looks a lot like Elvis (well to me) at times, his softer spoken delivery is not a sign of weakness but of assuredness. He knows he is good with his guns.

Flowers's story is bit more complicated because it is not quite clear what she truly wants until towards the end of of the film. I blame it more on the script than Angie Dickinson. She was smart and had a few great zingers hurled at the men, but her character never really crystallized for me like the other male leads did.

And Walter Brennan as Stump was fine, I guess. He was brought in to be the cranky and complaining comic relief. I feel he was best in small doses. Rio Bravo did not agree and had him say something stupid almost every chance he got. He did get one great moment when he was staring down Nathan Burdette, the wealthy brother not in jail for murder, and told him that his 368 (I think) acres weren't much for Nathan to take, but they were everything to him. It showed that even though he was the butt of the joke often, Stumpy had some skin in this game too.

A couple more things I want to mention before I forget. There is a section where Nathan pays a spanish band in the local bar to play 'El Deguello' over and over again to remind Chance and his men that this song was played for the men inside the Alamo by the Mexican army before they eventually broke their siege. It is a great piece of music and very haunting.




Sergio Leone asked composer Ennio Morricone to write music similar to El Deguello for A Fist Full of Dollars. So it is easy to see how Rio Bravo shaped how the later Spaghetti Westerns, and westerns in general, would sound.

To take that one step further, director of Rio Bravo, Howard Hawks (please take a moment and read up on him. A staggering amount of work that changed the way movies were made), made 1951's A Thing From Another World, which John Carpenter would later remake as 1982's The Thing... with a score from Ennio Morricone. I have to respect Rio Bravo for just how it affected on my favorite films of all time.

For my frustrations with The Searchers not quite always moving the plot forward (I get it, they were searching), I liked getting to know these folk. I even forgive the film when it took a 5 minute detour right before the climax to let Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson sing different songs. I am just glad John Wayne didn't have to sing a song.

Rio Bravo is deserving of its title. It isn't just about one man, it is about the town. It is about what is doing what's right even when you know that is going to be hardest thing to do. It is about knowing you don't have to go alone against everything, sometimes a friend will throw a stick of dynamite for you to shoot at. Even if that man is Stumpy.

Western Checklist (nowhere near official or scientific):

Weird gang member names? No, but Joe Burdette was played by Claude Akins, the voice of reason in the iconic Twilight Zone episode 'The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.' Interesting that he gets to be the cause of a gang wanting to commit violence.

Beautiful Landscapes? Not that many. Outside of the opening, the bulk of the film took place in Rio Bravo. Bonus points given for the 'El Toro Rojo' saloon (Red Bull!).

Odd musical cue's early in the film to denote whimsical comedy? Not that I can recall. There was some good humor in here that does hold up well. Not Stumpy related, though.

Does a building catch fire? No, but one does get dynamited. Way more awesome.

How many Ernest Borgnines? None, but this film would have gotten 6 tin stars had he been in it.

Does it have a theme song with the name of the film in the title? Yes, and it was done by Dean Martin. Man can croon the paint off a barn.



And in honor of my least favorite character, Stumpy, here is Will Ferrell's Walter Brennan impersonation (I can't prove it but just listen to his voice and line delivery) as old timey prospector Gus Chiggins. Who wore it better?


'Ohhhhhh peaches!'

Rating:
I am going to give this 4 out of 5 tin stars. Rio Bravo is a good movie and it can show a western can be a good showcase for multiple characters under the encroaching shadow of danger. John Wayne was fun to watch but Dean Martin steals the show. Very much recommended.


Posted by Paul 'Tiberius' Steadman

2 comments:

Eds Epistle said...

I have this DVD set from Warner Brothers, its a wonderful set, and boy do I love this movie!
Dino in his prime pallies!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Eddie-o, trustin' that youse mean the great double DVD set...pure Dino-magic! Keeps lovin' 'n sharin' our most most beloved DINO!